How can a brewery improve on its already successful barleywine? Weyerbacher suggests throwing it in some bourbon barrels. Weighing in at 11.10% abv, Insanity is Weyerbacher’s twist on the English Barleywine style, letting its normal Blithering Idiot age in oak casks to pick up a slew of new, complex characteristics.
Upon first sniff, Insanity seems to struggle as if it wants to come across as an actual beer or whiskey. Strong aromas of bourbon, vanilla, slightly charred oak, and dark cocoa fill the air to complement the caramel and malts from the base beer. Insanity doesn’t fail to deliver on the palate, either, delivering a range of flavors balanced between sweet and boozy. The bourbon continues to play a prominent role, but doesn’t dominate, allowing the rest of the notes to develop and evolve. Expect the vanilla to be the focus with burnt sugar, toffee, and chocolate rounding out the taste.
While bourbon barrel-aged beers are quickly gaining popularity within the craft beer scene, being able to keep the beer balanced and drinkable is a difficult exercise that Weyerbacher seems to have figured out. Despite bursting with bourbon qualities, Insanity fails to take on the alcohol heat from it. What we are left with is an amazingly smooth ale that drinks much easier and more enjoyably than the 11.10% abv would have us believe.
A / $4.50 per 12 oz. bottle / weyerbacher.com